The practicality of minimalism

by Brittany Gilbert

Minimalism is all the rage right now. Thanks to Marie Kondo, Joshua Becker and Allie Casazza, this simple and freeing lifestyle is getting the spotlight it deserves. If you haven’t watched or at least heard of “Tidying Up” on Netflix, you might be living under a rock. 

People are finally starting to see what it is and isn’t about. Granted, Marie takes a less strict and extreme approach on the show, so if you’d like a good introduction, watch the show first. 

Minimalism in your home décor doesn’t mean you follow a certain style. It simply means you pare down to what you really love. The pressure is off. You don’t have to switch from a traditional style to modern. It’s all about getting rid of the clutter. 

One of my favorite leaders on this topic is Allie Casazza, and one of my favorite thoughts of hers is that you don’t just pay for your stuff with money, you also pay with time — time you spend picking up, organizing, cleaning, etc. When you consider that, do you really want all of the “stuff” you have in your house? 

When I decided that I loved a simpler look, I walked around my house and started pulling things off of the walls, shelves, etc. that I didn’t love. Oddly enough, I didn’t even have to look around to find out what needed to go. At just the thought, I immediately knew which pieces I needed to part with. No more filling space just because it’s blank. I learned to get comfortable and even to love a blank wall. 

Here are some of the things I consider whenever I am decluttering and decorating:  

Take your time

When considering what to get rid of, ask yourself a few questions: Do I love this piece? Or is it just filling the space? Honestly, these two questions will help you figure out if you’re keeping something that will bring you joy or if it’s just a waste of space. 

Breathing room allows for the quality pieces you have to stand out. Resist the urge to store items. It’s not doing you any good sitting in the garage. 

Choose pieces with care

It took me two years to put anything on the walls of our house. As much as I enjoy decorating, I couldn’t bring myself to put just anything on the wall.  

Don’t fall for the temptation to fill blank space. That blank space may be more relaxing than you realize. Clutter makes it hard to relax, and this is the place you need to feel at peace in, so love what you fill it with. 

Quality vs. quantity

While I was waiting for two years to put things on my walls, I was carefully considering what I wanted to surround myself with. Turns out, I really wanted personal touches from people I love. I had family members build shelves and friends paint paintings. I never ever thought I would have a gallery wall of pictures because it always seemed so cluttered to me, but it turns out that I just needed almost three years for the perfect pictures to come to mind. These are the pictures that every time I see them, I am filled with joy. 

When it comes to decorating in a minimalist style, here are some basic tips: 

While it is possible to keep your own individual style, neutral tones keep things calm and less busy. 

Texture will add layers to your design, so even while you’re minimal with décor, the space doesn’t feel boring. 

Don’t forget to let in the natural light and display some greenery. Light helps the space not feel too cold, and bringing nature in to the room will help not only with texture, but also with the quality of air.  

Choosing a minimalist approach to home décor isn’t just practical, it’s smart. Studies have shown that women are more relaxed when their home isn’t cluttered. Our cortisol levels (stress) are higher in cluttered environments. 

Now you know that decluttering and opting for a more minimalistic method isn’t super difficult. It all comes down to choosing items that you love, that bring you joy and that you don’t mind spending time taking care of. Decluttering means paring down the stuff in your home to a more manageable level and creating systems to take care of the messes. 

Keep it simple, and remember, this is an ongoing process. Just as things continue to come inside your house, things must continue to make their way out. 

Brittany Gilbert
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